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Status Epilepticus

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Status epilepticus is a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes. It can also be a second seizure before you are fully awake and aware after the first. A tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure is the most common type that leads to status epilepticus. This type of seizure causes loss of consciousness and convulsions. Status epilepticus is a medical emergency. It can cause permanent brain damage or death.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Antiepileptic medicine will help control your seizures.
  • Sedatives may be given for immediate control of a seizure. These may be given orally, rectally, or through an IV.

Monitoring:

  • A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.
  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.
  • Arterial blood gas (ABG) measures how much oxygen and carbon dioxide are in your blood.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests will show if you have an infection. These tests can also give information about your overall health, such as kidney function.
  • An EEG records the electrical activity of your brain. It is used to find changes in the normal patterns of your brain activity.
  • A CT scan or an MRI may show abnormal areas in your brain. You may be given contrast liquid to help the areas show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have anything metal in or on your body.

Treatment:

Oxygen may be given if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may need a ventilator. A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is a tube put through an incision and into your windpipe.

RISKS:

Status epilepticus is a medical emergency that can cause permanent brain damage or death. Even with treatment, you may have permanent damage to your brain, heart, or lungs.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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